I Have Depression, but I Am Not Depressed
It will all make sense in the end.
In case you are wondering, the answer is yes. You did read that correctly. For those of you that may feel a sense of moral outrage for the statement I have made, let me say that I strongly advise you to continue reading.
Many people suffer to live their everyday lives due to mental illness. Anxiety, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, and so many more psychological complications create obstacles for those who seek out joy in life. The road to recovery can sometimes be just as, if not more, difficult than managing the actual illness itself, leaving opportunity for a variety of different endings. Some end happily, offering a hope for change and a new outlook on life. Some remain a struggle, anticipating whether the following day will be full of positivity or doubt. Unfortunately, some battles end far too early at the hands of the sufferers themselves. Everyone has mental health and a story that they hold close to their hearts, influencing their perspective of what it means to struggle from mental illness.
Now, back to this somewhat contradicting statement I have made. I have depression, but I am not depressed. Well, how can that be? I suffer from mental illness, as it is a part of my everyday life. I am fully aware of its presence in my life, and how it has changed me as a person. However, I do not currently consider myself as depressed. The reasoning behind this attitude towards my mental illness has a lot to do with my personal story. There was a time where I would let my depression get the best of me, and remove every bit of joy from my life. I would let it change my relationships with friends, loved ones, and most importantly, myself. There was a time where I let my depression become such a profound and noticeable part of who I was. Some people hide behind closed doors, not letting those that are important in their lives see that they're in pain. My mental illness started to change my physical appearance the more I tried to hide it, as I was less motivated, lethargic, and had lost a lot of weight as a result of not properly caring for myself. Despite people's acknowledgment of my transformation through the constant asking of "how did you lose so much weight?" and "what's your secret?" a series of lies would be sitting at the edge of my lips every time as if I had been anticipating these questions from the moment I got up in the morning. My answers would usually involve something like healthy eating or drinking lots of water.
I won't go into much detail about my story, but my mental illness was always something I ignored up until the past year of my life. Because I had been feeling the way I did for so long, it never occurred to me that I wasn't necessarily taking good care of my own mental health. I had always taken interest in other people's problems and complications in their personal lives, as I had felt a moral obligation to contribute to their rehabilitation somehow. However, I never really took into consideration just how consumed I really was by my depression, until I finally did. I was suddenly living the exact same life I had always lived but from a different, almost fatalistic perspective. Throughout the course of the year, I spent my days visiting various amounts of doctors that sent me home with various amounts of brochures that consisted of various amounts of hotlines that I knew would never be useful to me. Like many, my story mainly consists of trial and error, as finding a conventional mix of doctors and medications to fix something that has been usual to you for nearly your whole life is somewhat difficult to pinpoint.
Eventually, I was luckily able to find a mix that was compatible with my everyday life and was able to provide support. I began counselling sessions and was prescribed anti-depressants, which I am still taking today. With these two assets, along with the love and support from my wonderful family and friends, I was directed to a new path that promised opportunity and happiness. This path lead me to new experiences and showed me a new way of living that was unimaginable to me only a year ago. I have learned so much about who I truly am and who I aspire to become one day. I have understood from first hand experience what it means to love and respect myself. I have seen brighter days that will only continue to shine more profoundly as I walk further down this path. I have experienced true happiness, and have found a sense of wonder and delight in this world that I once perceived as being so cold and dark.
I have done an immense amount of growing mentally in the past year than I have in my whole life. Despite all of the self discovery I have partaken in in such a short amount of time, I still do suffer depression. The reality of it all is that I still take medication and think about making appointments with my counselor from time to time to relieve some tension and other melancholy thoughts. I still experience dark days that put me in a detached state that can sometimes be extremely difficult to come out of. I still occasionally will sit in my bed for hours on end simply because I have no motivation to make anything productive of my day. The fact of the matter is that I do not let my depression make me feel depressed. I have learned numerous ways to overcome these feelings of bleakness, and move into a more radiant state of mind. I have learned to understand that some days are going to be more difficult than others, but more importantly that I shouldn't let these somber times depict my outlook on life. I believe that my depression is a prominent part of who I am, as it is still present in my life. However, I often keep into consideration that I am still in the process of recovery, as I continue to grow out of my mental illness more and more everyday.
So for those of you that continued reading due to curiosity, interest, or whatever your reason may be, I thank you. My journey has taught me that although I do have depression, I do not have to let it become a predominant part of my day anymore. I don't let it destroy the life I have made for myself and the person I have become. I have depression, but I am not depressed. I acknowledge the beauty in the world, and see hope for the future. I have depression, but have learned to silence it, instead of letting it take over my life or make a dent in the progress I have made. I hope this explanation gives you some insight to what I really mean when I make my claim. If you are struggling, I want you to know that one day you may be in the same shoes as me. Those shoes metaphorically being your mental illness, but instead choosing to walk bare foot more times than not. Being able to take control of your life and your thoughts and not letting your mental illness depict the rest of your life. In conclusion to all of this, I would like to make one final comment to you; I have depression, but I am not depressed.